Many of us have already started working on the goals we set for ourselves in our New Year’s resolutions, the most popular of which is to get more physically fit. As business owners and managers, it’s also important to get your business in good shape for the year ahead by reflecting on the achievements of the previous year and setting new challenges and targets. Here’s seven hacks to help you get your business fit in 2019.

Review last year’s performance

Before you can figure out what you need to change in 2019, you must first review your performance over the past year. Did you meet your goals and expectations? Did you achieve a reasonable growth rate, or was your growth stagnant? Did you manage to maintain a steady cash flow throughout the year? Did sales go up or down? Once you know where you are underperforming, you can create a plan to change that.

Take a second look at your expenses

We mentioned making sure that you are maintaining a steady cash flow. Part of having a steady cash flow is not spending money unnecessarily. Take a second look at ALL of your expenses. This includes payrolls, rentals, insurance costs, energy costs, software costs, advertising costs, and so on. If you see that certain expenses are unnecessary or aren’t actually contributing much in terms of ROI, cut out those expenses. If you can save money by negotiating with suppliers to get the best deals or other expenses, do so.

Re-evaluate your goals

Take a look at the goals you set for your business last year. Did you achieve some, or all of them. Should they be changed? Should they be expanded upon, or were they unrealistic?

Besides setting goals for this year, evaluate your long term goals as well. Where do you see yourself and your business in three years from now? Ten years? What do you want to be achieving then in terms of growth, profit, and revenue? How can you best position your business so that these goals are attainable?

Pinpoint potential quick wins

Besides long-term goals, consider any potential short term goals that you may be able to achieve this year. Look at the market and identify any trends that are still in their beginning stages. How can you use these trends to your business advantage? Can you achieve any big wins this year?

Evaluate your competition

To be successful in any industry, you have to be able to keep up with your competitors and stay one step ahead of them at all times. The strategies that you’ve been using to do this last year may no longer be effective. It’s possible that your competitors have upped their game and are now using new strategies, technology or products.

It’s important to re-evaluate your competition and your market in general. Are you still ahead of your competitors? Have you fallen behind? If yes, what have you been doing wrong (or what were they doing right)? Are there any new or emerging players in the industry who are growing quickly, and if yes, what can you do to stay on top?

Improve your company culture

Having the right people and culture is crucial for success. You want to lead a company where the employees are dedicated, motivated, passionate, enjoy collaborating and working with each other, and care about your customers. Take a look at your company culture and see if it needs any improvements. You need to lead from the top.

Prepare for Brexit

The UK is set to leave the EU in March 2019 and two-thirds of businesses are holding back from making any significant changes due to a lack of clarity. It’s not yet clear how Brexit will affect UK businesses in terms of trade, transportation, copyright issues, transfer of data, employment, etc. But, now is the time to start looking into how Brexit might impact your business and prepare accordingly.

More help:

Federation of Small Businesses
Small Business Charter
General business guides and energy saving advice
Financial energy saving incentives

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